Thursday, 22 March 2012

Day 1 of Finnmark March 2012

A quick summary of today’s sightings:

We landed at Kirkenes to fantastic weather, blue skies and hardly a breath of wind. Making our way towards Varanger there were surprisingly few birds to see and incredibly few gulls, just small numbers of Herring, Great Black-backed and Kittiwakes. Every now and again the fjord held some seaduck with Eider the commonest (ca. 500 seen), then Long-tailed Duck (ca.100), King Eider (ca.50), Mallard (ca.50), Red-breasted Merganser (20), Velvet Scoter (4) and Goldeneye (1). We also had Steller’s Eider at 2 sites: Nesseby (50) and Vadsø Harbour (16). Just 3 White-tailed Eagles and no other raptors or owls. Passerines were of course very few and far between but we did have House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Great Tit, a single Willow Tit calling in a way I have never heard before and 2 Arctic Redpolls.

Mammal wise we had a few Reindeer, a single Bearded Seal (mammal tick), 2 Grey Seals, some other seals which were probably Common Seals and some small cetaceans that may have been White-beaked Dolphins.

The days are quite long already but the sun doesn’t rise very high so the evenings are long. Light-wise it started to be evening before 4pm but it didn’t get dark until after 6pm.
Today’s pictures were rather poor but here are the best of them:
Steller's Eider, Vadsø Harbour

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Purple Sandpipers

Steller's Eider

Bearded Seal, the beard being very visible

Arctic Redpoll. Crappy picture but you can at least see how white they should be

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